The Idiot Gardener

WARNING: This site contains information on gardening, brewing, curing meat,

building shit and hunting, all done in a piss-poor manner. It is not suitable for the

feeble-minded, the weak and lame, those of a nervous disposition, vegans and

vegetarians (and those other ones that only eat fish and the occasional bacon

sandwich - I think they're called 'hypocrites'), those who practice any

manner of folk singing or dancing, people named Colin or fans of Barry Gibb.

Growing in Hay

This year, as an experiment, I am growing my onions in hay. No, I’m not going to plant them in the ground and then mulch them with hay, nor am I going to mix a load of compost into the hay. No; I am just using hay. Why? Because I’ll never know unless I do it! Okay? Are you satisfied with that?

Okay, I shall not be growing all of my onions in hay, and here’s why. I need a control group. After all, it might be a shit year for onions, and I’ll just end up thinking that growing in hay is a bad idea. I have two hundred sets, made up of Sturon, Red Baron, Stuttgarter Giant and Centurion. I also have around 50 shallot sets, including Red Sun, Jermor, Golden Gourment and Longor. All of my sets are from Taylors, aside from the Jermor, which are from Unwins. It’s the first time I’ve used Unwins, and judging by the mould on the sets, it’ll be the bloody last time too!

Last October I managed to get hold of a Heston hay bale for £10, which was nice. I stripped some off to mulch the cardoons, and left the rest sitting alongside a pile of manure. I let the rain get into it, and as the wet weather hit it resulted in a pool of cow-shit water which the bale also absorbed. I also used the bale as a urinal! Effectively, I was looking for it to start composting.

The other day I headed down to the plot to see how things had fared over the festive period. The bale still looks like it did when I left it, aside from a few tufts of fragile grass, and a bunch of mushrooms protruding from the top. However, even just by placing my hand on the top of it I knew something was happening. It was hot.

I stuck my hand in, and it was like shoving your fist into a decaying badger that has been lying by the side of the road for a week in the summer sunshine. It was moist, sticky and warm. As I pulled out my hand it was steaming. Yes indeed, the magic was working.


The plan is to simply put down a layer of the decomposed hay, chuck on the onions and shallots, and then drag a layer of the less composted hay on top. That’s your lot! Hopefully it will stop the bastarding crows from pulling them up too!

I’ve been musing on growing a few spuds, and whilst I kind of swore off them for 2014, I figure I’ll chuck a few Jersey Royals in, just so I can laugh at the people of that shitty island and their poncey-arsed Protected Designation of Origin bollocks! They’ll go into the hay as well, because I can’t be arsed to do anything else with them!

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2 thoughts on “Growing in Hay

  1. Jane

    Not sure if your decaying badger description is strictly correct, so I’ll report back at the end of summer with my findings. Meanwhile, keep up the good work. beginning to think you’re more of a gardener than you let on, you may have to change your name!


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